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Dernier train pour Istanbul

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  8,449 Ratings  ·  661 Reviews
Lorsque Selva, la fille d'un des derniers descendants de la lignée des pachas ottomans, tombe amoureuse de Rafael, un jeune homme juif, leurs familles vont tout faire pour les séparer et empêcher leur mariage. Ils s'enfuient et partent vivre en France, mais leur bonheur sera de courte durée. L'arrivée de la Seconde Guerre mondiale et du régime nazi va les happer...
Paperback, 303 pages
Published 2009 by Ramsay (first published 2002)
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Natalia Pì
Jan 16, 2011 Natalia Pì rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: turkey
Finished. Finally! I say finally because it took me too long due to a busy period...
It also took me long because, well, it's a very interesting story, but I must also say, it's not very well written. Or maybe it's a matter of translation? I can't read Turkish, so I'll never find out. I must say, though, that the editor - who is thanked in the final pages of the book - really didn't do a good job, there are so many tiny mistakes in language that got to me very much, in a 460-page book. Maybe I'm
Ena Hasečić

Još jedan roman iz pera turske autorice Ayse Kulin u kojoj opisuje sudbinu Jevreja u Francuskoj za vrijeme II Svjetskog rata. U centru priče su Selva i Rafo Alfandari koji nakon vjenčanja odlaze iz Turske bježeći od porodica koji ne odobravaju brak između muslimanke i Jevreja. Daleko od porodica započinju novi život, dobivaju sina, a onda počinje rat koji se munjevitom brzinom širi. Moraju da se snalaze i pomažu drugima sa kojimaa se njihove sudbina isprepliću i ostaju povezana do samog kraja
It's hard to review this book. The synopsis is rather incorrect because it misleads you to believe that this is mainly the story about a couple. But it's not. It's more a collection of stories about Turkish people and how WW2 and the Holocaust affected them. It's a different view that most Americans don't know about - how many of us even think of how that time period affected Turkey? The writing itself seems rather choppy, it doesn't flow that well. But I can't help but think that could be due t ...more
Advanced Reader's Copy(ARC) - uncorrected proof - from NetGalley.


Istandbul, Ankara, Paris 1941. "Spring arrived hand-in-hand with sorrow." Turkey was between a rock and a hard place. Britain demanded them to become an ally; Germany was threatening; Russia wanted Kars, Ardahan, the Bosphorus, and the Dardanelles. Choosing the losing side would have had dire consequences for Turkey. They learnt their lesson well after the first world war.

It was not only a unsett
Mi fermo alle tre stelle per vari motivi. Il romanzo mi è piaciuto, parla di un episodio storico poco conosciuto, la fuga di un gruppo di ebrei turchi (e non solo) verso Istanbul da Parigi attraversando la Germania e molti altri territori occupati durante la seconda guerra mondiale. Non lo conoscevo ed è stato una scoperta interessante, così come il focus sulla posizione della Turchia nel conflitto, e anche sulle conseguenze che questa porterà in seguito (si vede un accenno alle prime basi ameri ...more
Maria Bikaki

4 γεμάτα από εικόνες Βόσπορου και Κωνσταντινούπολης αστεράκια.
Μου άρεσε το βιβλίο περισσότερο από όσο πίστεψα σε κάποια στιγμή. Ξεκινώ έτσι την κριτική μου γιατί για να ειμαι απολύτως ειλικρινής ξεκινώντας το βιβλίο και διαβάζοντας τις πρώτες του σελίδες μου άρεσε μεν αλλά δεν είχα ενθουσιαστεί δε οπότε φυσιολογικά αναρωτιόμουν αν είχα κάνει καλά που είχα προχωρήσει στην αγορά του. Υποθέτω όμως ότι επειδή γενικότερα είμαι πολύ μετρημένη με τις αγορές μου το ένστικτο ευτυχώς για ακόμα μια φορά λ
3.5 stars. It was a slow plot, with the synopsis not really starting till the middle, and sounding more adventurous than it was. None of the characters were incredibly likable, but were interesting and dynamic. It was interesting to see this perspective of WWII, especially from a culture so different than my own, and one often left out (unfortunately) of history books/classes (in my experience).
“After all is said and done, what is life anyway? Aren't we all going to die in the end? I believe life is only worth living if, while we’re on earth, we can do honorable things.”

“Last Train to Istanbul” is a phenomenal WWII novel set in Turkey and France, with one of the elements being a love story, and another being clandestine extractions of Jews via the Turkish government and foreign ministers aided by private citizens, from certain imprisonment/annihilation carried out by the Vichy as orde
Feb 13, 2012 Vasha7 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I would never have opened this book if it hadn’t been given to me by a good friend. I consider it my duty, then, to read it – but not to give it a good review, sorry friend. I knew I would have trouble when I was able to count seven clichés on pages 10-12 alone. That’s the translator’s fault, though. On the other hand, the problem of excessive exposition is the author’s. I go back and forth trying to find something positive to say… Young Tarık is a fairly interesting character, and the plot deal ...more
Sara M. Abudahab
It's definitely one of those books that are simply too good that you do not want them to end *sigh* I want more!
the more you progress into the story the more you get emotionally attached, at the second half of the book I simply felt I was one of the passengers on the Train...
If you're interested to know how the Germans treated Jews at the WW2 period or if you are interested in Turkish literature this book if for you.

The story begins in Ankara in 1941. Germany has begun its march against Europe, although Turkey is still a neutral country. Sabiha and Selva are daughters of a wealthy Turkish Muslim family living a rather carefree existence - of refined schools, elegant parties and social talk. But headstrong Selva falls in love with Rafael Alfamdari, son of a Jewish doctor. Much against her father's wishes she marries Rafo, suffers the consequences of her father's wrath and moves to Paris with Rafo to start a ...more
Oct 20, 2013 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I very nearly abandoned this book, but I'm glad I stuck with it.

"Last Train to Istanbul" is the story of two privileged sisters, Sabiha and Selva, living in Istanbul. Sabiha follows her culture's expectations by marrying a man of the same faith and who has high ambitions within the new Turkish government. Selva follows her heart, marrying Rafael ... a Jewish man. Both Rafael and Selva are rejected by their families, and so they move to Paris where they will be more accepted.

However, it's the 19
Jan 07, 2015 Drea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Today, I finally finished this book. I swear, I feel like I started this book forever ago and right now, I’m just glad that it’s over. The only reason I continued through it is because it was an audiobook and I needed something to listen to on my commute.

Anyway, I selected the book because of the Goodreads description. I felt like it was going to be a gentle love story with touches of war related drama. Instead, it was a disjointed semi-love story involving what I considered to be a somewhat dys
Feb 21, 2014 Celia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-fiction
I got a copy of this book from Netgalley to review.

I don't easily give 5 star reviews but I thought this book was a top historical novel. I call it a top historical novel because it sheds light on a piece of history that I did not know and works very well as a novel.

The book has two themes. The first theme is that it is about two sisters in an aristocratic Turkish family where one marries someone in the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the other marries a Turkish Jew and has to move to France becaus
Dina Goluza
Aug 07, 2015 Dina Goluza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Čitljiva knjiga teške teme. Period II. svjetskog rata prikazan iz turske perespektive. Poučno i zanimljivo.
Nov 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I chose this book because the blurb had me hooked. I love WWII stories and was intrigued by the influence of Turkey during WWII, it was such an eye opener! This also involved intermarriage of a Muslim girl and Jewish boy which was interesting to read about. Turkey's neutral stance during WWII had a significant impact on the outcome of the war but it is not a topic that has had much coverage in contemporary literature. I did come away from the book with a better understanding of the people and hi ...more
Jun 28, 2015 Yashar rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
The second half of the book was much better than the first half.

This book is about the lives of two Turkish sisters, born in an aristocrat ottoman family who were raised mostly in the Republic of Turkey. The younger sister, Selva, marries a Turkish Jew, Raphael Alfandari, and emigrates to France with him, since both are rejected by their families as the result of their inter-faith marriage, that eventually leads the story to cover the sufferings of Jews in occupied France.

Book has minor storylin
Jan 08, 2014 Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised to see so many mixed reviews on this book. I absolutely devoured it! I will preface by saying I do love historical fiction and seem to be particularly intrigued by Holocaust stories. I have never read a book by a Turkish author and after recently discussing a friend's recent trip to Turkey, I thought it would be an interesting read. Kulin's story follows two Turkish sisters, Sabiha and Selva. Sabiha marries a Turkish diplomat and lives in the Turkish capital, while Selva marries ...more
Lauri Rottmayer
Oct 08, 2013 Lauri Rottmayer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was originally attracted to this book because Istanbul is the number one spot in the world I want to visit. I don't think I knew that it was about World War II. I do love reading stories set in WWII and this book is EXCELLENT!

The story tells of two sisters and a family in Turkey. The older sister marries a diplomat who is extremely involved in trying to keep Turkey out of WWII. The younger sister falls in love and marries a Jewish man. They then leave their families to live in France where th
Dec 30, 2013 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: istanbul
Like a lot of reviewers, I too almost gave up at the beginning - I don't think the translation is very good and it does make the writing seem very stilted at times. However, I was really glad I persevered as I was increasingly drawn into the characters and the story.

I really enjoy historical fiction and this was incredibly interesting - I had no idea of the role of the Turkish government in trying to save their Jewish citizens from the Nazis and so I learnt something completely new and fascinati
Sarah Went
Feb 28, 2015 Sarah Went rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Somehow five stars do not seem enough for this book, I just loved it.
The story introduced me to a part of European history that I was not entirely familiar with and yet it was written in a way that made me understand the timeline of the story from a Turkish perspective rather than the British one that I am more knowledgeable of. I find with some books that are translated into English the writing can be quite stilted, but with this book it flowed beautifully. I found myself drawn into the charac
In the beginning it was an extremely slow read. To be honest, I put it aside several times feeling I had made a mistake choosing it, as I just could not stay interested.

While in the first several chapters the second world war is in the background it started off as a family saga, which frankly bored me. The more the story went from what was happening in one sister's marriage in Turkey towards the life of the diplomats in occupied France, the more I was drawn into the story. To be honest, while I
Jan 15, 2015 Jennie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great story, very poorly told. I was so interested in learning about Turkey's role in WWII and its treatment of Jews. I love both Istanbul and Paris, both featured in this book, however the writing is horrendous. It reads as if it was translated by someone with only sixth grade level English using a Turkish-English dictionary and a book of English language idioms and clichès. "Clickety-clack" goes the train down the track, for example. However, I don't think all the blame should lay at ...more
Shreyani Shah
I had higher hopes for the books. Perhaps because it was a translation the writing was not as sophisticated with cliches dispersed through the book. Having said that it, after about a quarter way through the plot pulled me in and so had to finish it . The book provided an insight into the politics of World War II in relation to Turkey which was interesting. The characters were described and portrayed well. The train journey could have been a bigger part of the book than it was. A few loose ends ...more
Urenna Sander
Aug 01, 2015 Urenna Sander rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The main characters in this historical novel are two sisters: Traditionalist, Sabiha, the eldest, who follows the precepts mandated by their Muslim faith as well as their father. She marries, Macit, an educated, distinguished man, accepted by her family.

Clever and sensible Selva, the younger sister, is her father Fazil’s favorite. She and her father often execute healthy debates.

Fazil often spoke of the liberality of Turkey being a safe haven for Jews. During the 1400s, the Sultan issued a form
Sep 17, 2016 Marlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2016
This was really quite something. A precious story of the effort of a group of Turkish diplomats to save its citizens from the German killing machine. Also a discussion of some of the Turkish diplomatic reasoning and efforts behind staying neutral during WWII. Also the story of a family torn apart by religious customs. A great deal of research went into the writing of this book, as it turns out. The author was able to interview WWII-era Turkish diplomats, Auschwitz survivors, and survivors of the ...more
Sep 18, 2013 Nada rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r-ng
Review first published on my blog:

The Last Train to Istanbul is a story of World War II - in particular the Turkish community in Europe at the time of the war. Originally published in Turkish in 2002, the book has now been translated into English.

At the heart of the story is one family, descendants of the Ottoman emperors of Turkey. The parents give their daughters an education and liberty yet hold fast to traditional values. One daughter, Sabiha, follows
Aug 12, 2013 Mandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This page-turning and absorbing novel tells the story of two Turkish sisters just before and during WWII. Sabiha is married to Macit, who has an important government post, and through his eyes we see the negotiations between Turkey and the warring nations. Selva has defied her family to marry Rafo, a Jew. In view of both families’ opposition to the marriage – although Turkey was relatively tolerant of Jews, inter-marriage between a Jew and a Muslim was frowned upon - they decide to move to Franc ...more
Sean Leas
I simply had to slog through this book - I was interested in the synopsis and really wanted to spend some time in getting a new viewpoint during this period of history. I was lucky enough to pull this one down with Kindle Unlimited.
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Ayşe Kulin is a Turkish contemporary novelist and columnist.
Kulin graduated in literature from the American College for Girls in Arnavutköy. She released a collection of short stories titled Güneşe Dön Yüzünü in 1984. A short story from this called Gülizar was made into a film titled Kırık Bebek in 1986, for which she won a screenplay award from the Turkish culture ministry. Kulin worked as a scre
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“My God, she thought, where on earth can I go to save my son from such suffering? Is there any corner of the vast world where people live without tormenting each other?” 3 likes
“After all is said and done, what is life anyway? Aren’t we all going to die in the end? I believe life is only worth living if, while we are on this earth, we can do honorable things.” 3 likes
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